The morning mist is lifting and our house is just starting to warm past 40 degrees (fahrenheit, although 40 degrees celsius would be uncomfortable also). Last night did not go as planned.
As autumn in Kansas is settling in, the weather is cooling and it seemed like the perfect time to christen the fireplace in our apartment. Although it's not as cold as the locals love to tell me it is going to get, "You're from Florida?!" they say. "Good luck this winter!" Then I come back with something very clever and pithy. "Good luck every day!"
So last night we had weather that we would normally see in a Florida winter. We decided to go to the store and buy some bundles of fire wood and the makings for s'mores. It seemed like the perfect way to spend a Friday evening.
Joel, the veteran fire builder in our household found the perfect kindling (I believe it was the pages of a Foreign Affairs magazine) and prepared to ignite. Flue open, check. That's really all I know you check for when lighting a fire. Anyway he did and the flue was definitely open. As Joel proceeded to light the pages filled with information about the economic state of the Soviet Union (it was an old issue), our apartment proceeded to fill with smoke. Joel checked again. Flue open, check. It wasn't acting open, but either way we pushed the lever it produced the same result, smoke billowing into our apartment.
Within seconds we had a roaring fire going with the smoke detectors confirming its presence. Joel, with his super-human pain tolerance began pulling flaming logs off the fire as I turned on the stove fan, pulled my sweatshirt over my face and yelled, "My eyes, my eyes!" I then grabbed the dog and ran out onto the porch. I am not very cool-headed in a crisis. Joel dismembered the smoke detectors and finished extinguishing the fire.
As it was too cold for us Floridians to stay outside, we took refuge in our less smokey bedroom with the windows open and the fans blowing. Instead of a night of warming up to a cozy fire, there we sat on the floor of our room, shivering and feeding the dog the graham crackers intended for our s'mores (an effort to put meat on her bones before winter. I hear they are bad here. "Just wait," they tell me. "YOU just wait." That's what I say to them.) We had to sleep with the windows open and our house still smells like a camp fire. I woke up this morning to Joel covering our dog with blankets because she looked cold. It was very cute. Now I am going to call the apartment office and tell them there are some flaws with the engineering of our fireplace. They will probably tell me about how bad Kansas winters are.